Bulls And Bears

Trade war ceasefire boosts regional bourses

STI gains 73 points; banks, tech firms and shipbuilders among best performers

News that the American and Chinese leaders had struck a deal to hold off on their tit-for-tat tariff row for 90 days gave regional investors just enough impetus to nudge shares higher yesterday.

The outcome of the heavily anticipated meeting between United States President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping could signal a new phase in the trade relationship between the two largest economies.

But if no deal is in place by the end of the negotiations, the US will raise tariffs on US$200 billion (S$273 billion) worth of Chinese imports to 25 per cent.

Key Asian indexes were buoyed by the outcome and opened the week on a positive note with the Hang Seng, Shanghai Composite, Nikkei, ASX 200, Kospi and Kuala Lumpur Composite all advancing.

Hong Kong and Shanghai led the way with rises of 2.6 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei hit a six-week peak after ending 1 per cent higher.

In Singapore, equities fared similarly well with the Straits Times Index (STI) up 73.01 points, or 2.34 per cent, to 3,190.62.

Turnover stood at 1.77 billion shares worth $1.35 billion, with gainers thumping losers 317 to 140.

Marine firm Ezion Holdings was the most actively traded, closing 6.6 per cent higher at 6.5 cents on trade of 109.7 million shares.

Contract manufacturer Venture Corporation was the STI's biggest gainer in percentage terms, up 8 per cent to $16.12, after the pressures on global supply chains that have hit chipmakers and tech stocks eased somewhat.

Casino operator Genting Singapore was also among the big gainers, closing 7.2 per cent higher at $1.04. Its turnover of 71.5 million shares made it the STI's most heavily traded stock yesterday.

The offshore and marine sector thrived after news that key producers Russia and Saudi Arabia will further curb oil output to bolster prices.

Sembcorp Marine advanced 8.1 per cent to $1.73, while Keppel Corporation added 5 per cent to $6.36.

CMC market analyst Margaret Yang said: "Crude oil is riding the tailwind of potential output cuts, the improved US-China relationship and a boost in general risk appetite, which led a 5 per cent rebound in Brent oil prices."

Technology, financials and shipbuilding stocks were also among the best performers here, due in part to risk appetites improving.

DBS added 3 per cent to $25.11, OCBC Bank gained 3 per cent to $11.60, while United Overseas Bank rose 3.3 per cent to $25.98.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2018, with the headline 'Trade war ceasefire boosts regional bourses'. Print Edition | Subscribe